image by axinia
The American College Dictionary explains professionalism as following: Professionalism is exhibited by one of the “professional character, spirit or methods” or the “standing, practice, or methods of a professional as distinguished from an amateur.” However it does not say anything precisely.
Intrestingly there is no explanation of professionalism on Wikipedia, there is one on “professional”, but I believe it is not the same.
I have a feeling that “professionalism” , like one of these mysterious things such as love, is difficult to explain. If you hear “that is done professionally” – what does it actually mean?
Professionalism is both popular and desirable – people are driven to look and to perform professionaly. Recently, during my visit to Germany – this motherland of professionalism 🙂 – I suddenly realised what this phenomenon is about.
To me, professionalism mean an objective action: the art or method of doing any job, by which the task fulfillment rank higher than any personal attitude or feeling.
Let me give you an example. In Frankfurt I met a German doctor who was famous and loved for her high professionalism, accurate diagnostics and very informative and helpful treatment. Especially emigrants were fond of her. Imagine my astonishment, when I found out in a private talk that this lady was rather a Nazi (!) – hating immigrants and fearing their present invasion of Germany. Just imagine! – her professional attitude and dedication were more important that her private views on the origin of her patients. Amazing, isn`t it?
In general I was impressed by the professionalism of everyone I faced in Germany – business people, shop-sellers, consultants, waiters… The heart was mostly lacking :(, but the awareness of doing a good job, of serving the customer was at the highest level. I miss it in many other countries I visit, and in the first line in my beloved Austria (probable reasons here).
On the other hand, professionalism is exactly what may close the hears of people – they can become too serious and over-responsible (very right-sided), too impersonal and cold…
So what would you prefer – a good-hearted clumsy doctor or a professional one secretly hating you?